Baltimore Ravens (1-0) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (1-0) 8:20 at Paul Brown Stadium
NFL Week 2: Thursday, September 13, 2018
There is nothing like an early-season battle between two heated division foes, and that’s what we will get on Thursday night as the Baltimore Ravens travel to take on the Cincinnati Bengals in this AFC North showdown. Both teams enter this contest 1-0, which adds drama to the game as the winner will grab sole possession of the division lead.
Ravens Pound Bills Behind Smothering Defense, 47-3
The Baltimore Ravens left no doubt that they will be competitive this season, absolutely crushing the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, 47-3. The Baltimore defense smothered Buffalo, allowing 153 total yards, including only 70 through the air. Rookie quarterback Josh Allen finished 6-15 for 74 yards and was sacked three times, and Nathan Peterman did not fare much better, completing 5 of 18 passes for just 24 yards and two interceptions. He was also sacked three times.
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While the defense was corralling the Buffalo offense, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco got off to a hot start, completing 24 of his 34 passes for 236 yards and three touchdowns. Baltimore led 26-0 heading into the half, thanks to two touchdown passes by Flacco, one to John Brown for 7 yards and the score and the other to Michael Crabtree for a 12-yard touchdown. Justin Tucker added two field goals in the half and Alex Collins had an 8-yard touchdown run to give Baltimore a commanding lead heading into halftime.
In the second half, Flacco quickly extended his teams lead with a touchdown just 2:32 into the second half, finding Willie Snead for a 13-yard score. Javorius Allen scored from 1 yard out just 66 seconds later. That came courtesy of a Peterman interception, as his pass was picked off by Brandon Carr who returned it 32 yards to the Buffalo 1 yard line. Allen scored on the next play.
Stephen Hauschka finally got Buffalo on the board with a 35-yard field goal, but Kenneth Dixon would close out the scoring with a 2-yard touchdown with a little under four minutes left in the game.
The Baltimore Ravens come out of the first week with the top-rated defense in the NFL. They allow the least number of yards (153) in the least number of points (3).
Bengals Rally in Fourth to Down Colts, 34-23
The return of Andrew Luck looked like it was going to have a happy ending as the Indianapolis Colts led 23-17 heading into the fourth quarter, but the Cincinnati Bengals rallied, scoring two touchdowns and adding a field goal to down the Colts, 34-23. A huge defensive play helped to complete the comeback and quarterback Andy Dalton helped ruin the return of Luck with two touchdowns and 243 yards passing.
The first quarter ended in a 3-3 tie as Randy Bullock connected on a 42 yarder for Cincinnati and Adam Vinatieri nailed a 21-yard field goal for Indianapolis. Indianapolis then took a lead when Luck found Eric Ebron for a 26-yard touchdown and Vinatieri added 38-yard field goal to give the Colts a 13-3 lead. Dalton’s three-yard touchdown to John Ross cut the deficit to three, but the Colts would add a 51-yard field goal with two seconds left in the half to give them a six-point lead.
Indianapolis would extend their lead to 13 with a little less than seven minutes gone in the third quarter when Luck connected with T.Y. Hilton for a five-yard touchdown. That made the score 23-10, but the Bengals then responded with 24 unanswered points.
Dalton connected with A.J. Green with a little over four minutes left in the third quarter for a touchdown. The 38-yard strike made it 23-17. Almost exactly eight minutes later, the Bengals took the lead when Joe Mixon scored from one yard out. Bullock hit a 39-yard field goal to extend the Cincinnati lead to four and the defense sealed the victory when Clayton Fejedelem recovered a fumble at his own 17 and raced 83 yards for the score to make it 34-23.
Andy Dalton finished 21-28 for 243 yards and two touchdown passes. Joe Mixon had 95 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries. Andrew Luck threw for 319 yards and two touchdowns in the loss.
- 3-0-1 ATS in their last four Thursday night games.
- 4-0-1 ATS in their last five against teams with a winning record.
- 12-3 ATS in their last 15 against AFC North teams.
- 5-2 ATS in their last seven September games.
- 6-0 ATS in their last six games against AFC teams.
- 4-1 ATS in their last five games against teams with a winning record.
- 18-7-2 ATS in their last 27 games in September.
The Winner Prediction
There is no doubt that Cincinnati had the more impressive victory this last weekend, but the underdog is 7-1 ATS in the last eight meetings between these two teams. You also have to consider that Baltimore is 4-9 against the spread in the last 13 meetings in Cincinnati. For those reasons, we like Cincinnati and the points in this contest.
The Pick: Cincinnati Bengals +3 (-110)
Both offenses looked really good in Week 1. We expect that here in the second week as well, especially on a Thursday night.
The Pick: Over 44.0 (-110)